At a meeting of stem cell researchers here today (April 26), UW-Madison professor of anatomy and neurology Clive Svendsen announced the establishment of a new regenerative medicine program and an interdisciplinary postdoctoral training program that will advance stem cell research across the university.
The regenerative medicine program, which draws on faculty from the Medical School as well as the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, will focus on translating the basic science of stem cells to application through the development of cell replacement therapies.
"The ultimate promise of regenerative medicine is that many degenerative diseases of the heart, pancreas, nervous system and blood will be treatable with cell replacement therapies," said Svendsen, a noted stem cell expert whose work is aimed at developing neural cells to treat brain and nervous system disorders.
Svendsen, along with UW-Madison Medical School Professor Timothy Kamp, a heart specialist, will direct the new program.
The program will draw on faculty from five Medical School departments: surgery, anatomy, pediatrics, pathology and radiology. Importantly, it brings the basic science of stem cells -- where most work to date has been accomplished -- together with clinical medicine, representing a key step toward realizing the great potential of stem cells to treat a host of debilitating cell-based diseases.
The new program will be supported to a level of $700,000 per year for the next four years. Support for the program comes from the Wisconsin Partnership Fund, the fund established to promote Wisconsin health initiatives when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin converted to a for-profit corporation in 1999; private support through the UW Foundation; and several UW Medical School departments